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When I first considered quitting my job to write full-time, I wanted to replace the income from my full-time job and my benefits. Since I only made around $38,000 in my administrative career, this wasn’t a huge feat. Still, I needed to earn a little extra to make up for the loss of my 401(k) match, work-paid cell phone, and annual bonuses.
Eventually, I did just that. When I finally took the plunge into self-employment in 2012, I had replaced my regular income and then some. Even better, I suddenly had a lot more time to work on my hustle. Where I was once working nights and weekends to earn part-time income writing, I could now devote forty hours or week or more while working from home.
Obviously, more time to work translates into more money fairly easily. And before long, I was earning more than I made at my full-time job – a lot more.
Making a Six-Figure Writing Income
For a long time, I shared my monthly income reports – mostly as a way to share my progress, triumphs, and failures with others. After ramping up my freelance efforts and an initial increase once I quit my job, my income got “stuck” at around $5,000 – $8,000 per month for over a year. Then, in October 2014, I made $11,660. Since then, I have earned at least $18,000 or more each month. In 2016, I didn’t see a single month with less than $20,000 in online earnings. In 2016, 2017, and 2018, I earned more than $200,000 from freelance writing alone. Fortunately, my husband also quit his job to work on this website in February of 2015.
Due to my openness about our online income, a lot of people have asked exactly how this happens. Which income streams bring our earnings over $20,000 every month? How much do I get paid to write? And, where can people find the jobs that can help them to do the same?
If you’re curious, this next section is for you.
How We Make a Living Online
We Write and Create Content
The bulk of my personal income stems from writing content for other websites. I’ve been a writer for a long time, but I started writing for a living several years ago. Since then, I’ve done everything from writing a one-off essay in the Wall Street Journal to creating content for college websites. In addition to writing for The Simple Dollar, Bankrate, Business Insider, and U.S. News and World Report Travel, I also write copy for all kinds of other businesses.
In my opinion, freelance writing is the best and fastest way to start earning money online. If that sounds like fun, I’ve got the perfect place to get started. It’s called Earn More Writing, and I think it’s the best freelance writing course available. I created the course myself, and it is designed to teach you the exact strategies I’ve used to build a six-figure freelance writing career. Whether you’re just starting out or are a seasoned professional, this course will find (and keep) the jobs you want, get paid what you’re worth, and provide actionable tips to send your income through the stratosphere.
Follow the link above to check it out, or join me at my free writing workshop by reserving your spot below. I hope to see you there!
Our Websites Make Money
At the moment, we own two websites. We’ve decided to focus the majority of our efforts on our first and most profitable website, Club Thrifty. (Our other website, TravelBlueBook.com, doesn’t get much of our attention right now.) Although Club Thrifty started making some money within six months, it took several years for the blog to become a major contributor to our income. In 2018, Club Thrifty earned over $200,000 on its own (not counting my freelance income). And we are on track to earn considerably more than that with our website in 2019.
While we’re obviously stoked that the blog is raking in the dough, this isn’t the most important thing starting a blog did for us. Not even close… Here’s the truth: Every dollar we make today stems from the fact that we started this blog a few years ago. It’s where we made mistakes, learned how to be disciplined, and started building relationships with other online entrepreneurs. Plus, it was a great place to start building a portfolio of work. If it wasn’t for the blog, I’d still be stuck in a 9-5 job, enduring excruciating back pain, and dreaming about the day I could quit. Every single job I’ve gotten comes back to starting a blog.
So, if your goal is to make money online, you need to start a blog now. We’ve put together a step-by-step guide to make starting a blog easy (and cheap). Click the link below to create your blog today!
A Note About Starting Your Blog
If you want to make money from your website, the first (and arguably most important) step you can take is getting a self-hosted domain. There are a plenty of reasons to do this, but most of all it makes your website look about a million times more professional. It’s hard for readers to take you seriously if your website is myfancyblog.wordpress.com. It just doesn’t build any trust.
Trust me, I’m as cheap as they come… but if you’re serious about making money blogging, you need a self-hosted website. Domain names are cheap, running less than $20 a year. Hosting is cheap too. At Bluehost, you can actually get hosting for as little as $3.95/month when you commit for 36-months. (It’s normally $7.99/month if you pay annually.) They’ll even throw in a free domain name for your first year. How many hobbies do you have that are that cheap AND can make you money?!? You can learn more about Bluehost hosting plans here.
How to Make Money Blogging
So, how do you actually make money from a website? Think of a website or a blog as something similar to a newspaper or television station. Much of what you make will come from different forms of advertising displayed on your website. You can also sell products created by you or by somebody else. Here are a few different avenues to make money from your blog:
- Direct Advertising: If you have a large enough following and are an influencer within your space, companies will pay to place advertisements on your website. This could come in the form of banner ads, text ads, or paid reviews. You may also be paid to become a brand ambassador, a situation where you agree to promote a product or service whenever possible for a flat fee. Occasionally, advertisers will contact you with these offers. However, getting in touch with them directly often helps let them know you are out there.
- PPC and CPM Advertising: These types of ads are the quickest and easiest way to monetize your blog. PPC means “pay-per-click,” so you get paid each time somebody clicks your ad. CPM means “cost-per-thousand impressions,” so you get paid a small amount each time the ad is shown. Some advertising networks, like Google Adsense, use both PPC and CPM ads. So, each time an ad gets shown to a visitor, you make a very small amount of money. If someone clicks on the ad, you make a little bit more. For websites who generate a lot of traffic, these types of ads can be lucrative. However, too many of them can make your website look spammy, so use caution.
- Selling Products You Create: If you’ve created a product that people want, a blog or website is a great way to promote and sell that product. Selling something is probably the most stable way to generate income from your website. You control both the product and the marketing. Whether it’s a book you’ve written (here’s a link to ours!), a course you’ve created (here’s another link to ours!), or an item that you’ve made, selling your own products is a great way to earn a living online. When the right product fills the right need for the right audience, it can be an extremely lucrative venture.
- Affiliate Advertising: As an affiliate marketer, we promote certain products and services that align with the overall mission of our website. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of our links or banners, we earn a commission on those products or services. These products can range from credit cards to online financial advisors. If you can learn how to do it and promote the right products, affiliate advertising can be very lucrative. To find affiliate programs that fit your niche, simply search one of the many affiliate networks available. Some of our most profitable networks include FlexOffers, ShareASale, and MaxBounty. Click on our links below to search for advertisers and join the programs for free (and we’ll get a small commission if you join…see how that works?).
Making money online through advertising or product sales isn’t something that just happens. It takes time, effort, and skill. Remember, this is real money that advertisers are spending, which means they want to see results. You can’t just slap some ads up and hope to make a living online. You have to constantly remind people of the things you are selling.
Speaking of which, don’t forget to check out our “6-Step Guide to Starting a Blog!”
We Have Several Online Income Streams
As a certified workaholic, I have a problem with biting off more than I can chew. Last year, I started a few online side hustles that grew quickly. Since that time, I decided to scrap those gigs and focus my attention on our main business. However, the fact remains that there are plenty of online gigs that can generate some revenue for you. All it takes is a little creativity and a lot of hustle!
For instance, in addition to my freelance writing, I also do some website consulting and freelance editing. Furthermore, I started offering free credit card rewards advice for anyone who wants to learn how to travel the world on points and miles. (I get paid by the card issuer when you sign up for a new card.) Want to know more? Click here.
Yes, You Can Make a Living Online
People are constantly telling me they don’t believe anyone can make a living online, but I know plenty of people who prove it’s possible. You just have to remember that, with all things, you have to start somewhere.
If you want to start a website, learn how. If you want to try your hand at writing for a living, take my course. To hone any skill, stop reading this blog post right now and start doing something. It’s as simple as that.
Can you earn a living on the internet? Maybe not for a while, but most things worth doing take time. You’ll never know unless you try.